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A comprehensive picture of English rural housing markets has been published by the government. ...
A comprehensive picture of English rural housing markets has been published by the government.

It showed there is a wide variability in the affordability of owner-occupied housing. The report - A Classification of Rural Housing Markets in England - is the first in-depth study of the rural housing market.

It used indicators of housing demand, land supply pressures and housing opportunity, compiled at the level of electoral ward.

Commenting on the publication of the report, environment minister Robert Jones said:

'We have long recognised the need for accurate and detailed information on how rural housing markets work, and this report provides the first comprehensive picture. It shows that different types of rural areas experience considerably different pressures on the demand for housing, and that there is a wide variation in affordability.

'The report contains detailed information on individual wards, which councils and the Housing Corporation should find very useful in devising local strategies to tackle housing need in rural areas.

'It coincides with the release by the Housing Corporation of Housing in Rural England, which outlines its policies for housing in rural areas, and takes into account some of the issues raised by today's report.'

The report provides a useful breakdown on the demand side between commuting areas, which concentrate around major transport routes and large towns and cities; and retirement areas. There is a strong north-south divide in land supply, with wards experiencing the most constraints tending to be in the South of England.

There was pressure from retirement and holiday home buyers in areas like the Lake District, the South West, and other parts of southern England away from London, although house prices are not as high as in the South East.

Areas which typify the image of rural communities with better off incomers pricing local people out of the market tend to be found in the Home Counties. These areas are characterised by long-distance commuting (over 20 miles), constraints on land supply, and high house prices.

Housing opportunity are better in northern areas, although some homes are less accessible to market towns and centres of employment, and tend to experience emigration of young people.

The research was carried out between 1992 and 1994 by the University of Aberdeen and the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Copies of the report can be obtained from HMSO bookshops, priced £30, ISBN 0-11-753069-7.

Copies of Housing in Rural England are available from the Housing Corporation, Publications Unit, 149 Tottenham Court, London W1P OBN.

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